Saturday, August 21, 2004

Where in the blog have I been?

Well, so much for keeping up with my work over the summer. I have backlogged several dozen blog topics and even some half-finished projects, but haven't posted in quite a while.

This has been a busy summer. I graduated from UT, got a job, moved, had my 30th birthday, went on vacation (pictures coming soon) and now am starting my new job.

So now I am a professor. Or assistant professor, technically, though no one outside the academy seems to understand our ranks anyway.

I taught my first class last week as a professional academician. The experience wasn't THAT different from all my teaching as an Assistant Instructor in grad school, but it felt good knowing I was being paid much better and respected a bit more.

Southern Methodist University. SMU. It's be quite an experience so far. Some things were as I expected, but more were complete surprises. It's an odd world, an extremely conservative city that houses this university that houses a surprising liberal faculty (at least, most of the professors I've met tend to lean to the left) with an overwhelmingly privileged and conservative student body.

Actually it's more complex than that. There are some parts of this culture that are downright conservative (I had to sit through a half hour of arguments about whether students should be allowed to wear baseball caps in class) and other parts that are decidedly not (there is a much higher ratio of faculty who are openly gay than there was at UT).

And I can already tell that motivating my students is going to be much harder here than at UT. They just don't seem hungry the way my former students did. I suppose the fact that the two groups' average family tax brackets are on different ends of the financial spectrum accounts for some of this. I have my work cut out for me.


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